Everything Crash - The Best Of The Ethiopians

Taking their name from the homeland, The Ethiopians were political commentators from their very first tracks "Owe Me No Pay Me" and "Live Good" until their demise in 1972 when founder member Stephen Taylor was killed by a passing vehicle in a petrol station. When you consider that artists at the time were actively encouraged to write love songs at the time and it certainly was a more commercial route to take the fact that a band like the Ethiopians is testament to their vision which allowed them to move with the times as much as keep the focus lyrically.

"Everything Crash" aims to sum up the trios 6 year recording history which has seen them record with the legend Lee "Scratch" Perry, had a song covered by the Clash and still to this day lead vocalist Dillon still tours the UK at frequent intervals. Still despite the highlights throughout their career the band were forced to take work elsewhere throughout just to get by as the music simply didn't sell the enormous copies needed to make a living. The great irony was that as the Dillon lyrics on songs such as this albums title track tackled issues such as the crippling strikes in Jamaica at the time, which the white skinheads in the UK in the main didn't even know was happening.

Songs such as "Knowledge Is Power" and "Things A Get From Bad To Worse" are overtly political while tracks such as ""Mothers Tender Care" are less so in their approach, but rarely does Dillon ever dredge the depths and write something such as a simplistic love song. Even on "The Word Is Love" which at first glance gives the wrong impression encourages us to "throw down your guns brother" before singing the mantra "you must remember the word is love and name of the game is freedom".

While the Ethiopians are certainly not the most immediate old school reggae act you will listen to, with repeated listens there is a depth which most bands simply couldn't sustain beyond a single album. When you consider this album is simply the best of and it covers 25 tracks you know that this is simply scraping the surface and the best fruits are to be discovered.

Alex McCann

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